Diary Comparison

Wednesday 13th August 1834

Ann Walker’s Entry

Anne Lister’s Entry

very indifferent night. went to dearest 5.30 so poorly did not go with her to Fierminy [Firminy], got up at 7.25 very tired with dressing breakfast 13 to 9 – tea & Grapes, kept one bunch for dearest, then drew design of secretary & drawers, very sick, lay down – George ill – read l’Histoire, dearest had two basins of broth, dearest returned at 1.10 seen coal pit, which was is exactly like a stone quarry in England, & coal got in the the same manner

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Monsieur Morillo very civil, dearest breakfasted with him, & his mother, who was staying with him – french breakfast all meat & wine, without either coffee or tea – french have only 2 meals a day – gave dearest letter from postillion about renfort – paid the money to Madame at Hotel, off at [gap] for Monbrison [Montbrison], discovered that we had left towel & my p[age?] hand – first things we had lost or left – country pretty, chain of mountains – at Montbrison at 6 – hard bargaining – Madame in bad humour. dinner at 7, very poor one, ordered riz au lait, which we got about 9 – in bed at 10 –

Courtesy of West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/26 & WYC:1525/7/1/5/1/27

[up at] 6 1/4

[to bed at] 11 40/..

twenty minutes quietly with A- [Adney] before getting up – fine morning Fahrenheit 68° at 6 1/4 a.m. made tea for A- [Adney] off in cabriolet to Firminy at 7 25/.. – good road (only opened 5 years ago – the old road considerably to the right – and very up and down) all the way, except thro’ the village of Chamond or some such name – and there the street narrow and pavé terrible – the street to be widened and made good – a few houses already rebuilt and set back – left the town of Firminy (left) and drove down to the coal mine or rather coal quarry, and there at 8 50/.. the ingenieur not there – would not come till 11 – lives in the château – 1/2 hour in the quarry – exactly like a common stone quarry, only coal instead of stone – quarrying enormous masses – 100 workmen – the piqueurs earn 2/25 and the carriers 1/75 per day – as much as a man carries of large pieces sells for 4 sols – 3 men killed 7 months ago by the falling down of a mass of rock – drove to the chateau – Monsieur Morillo (ingenieur en chef des mines de Firminy) at home – very civil – would return with me to the coal quarry, and had the horse put up at the chateau – above an hour shewing me all over the quarry, and explained about the steam engine pump – 26 horse power – much power lost by being at such a distance from the works and communicating with the well by iron bars, 100 yards length? but the ground so tender so full of old mines, and given to fall in, that they durst not sink the pit or well nearer – this pit 20 toises deep, but the pump only brought up the water to 1/2 way, and then it runs off by an old gallery – the water I saw forming a little cascade from the top into the quarry and thence by an old gallery is turned there on purpose – the mine here often on fire – afraid of it now, so has turned the water down – the numberless old galleries, and wet and pyrites, cause the fire – will be obliged to noyer the mine, fill it with water once every 3 years – of course, prefers doing it in winter – this mine worked as now (au jour) only 3 years – was worked before underground, in the common way – the different proprietors of the soil worked the coal, and made nothing of it – the mine was given up – coal immediately under the row of houses that bounds the quarry to the East, but the proprietors not willing to take a reasonable price, so the coal company prefers leaving the coal – but where they have got it 4 or 5 yards from the houses, they have only had 12 feet of soil to remove – they are now taking off about 20 feet deep of stuff, soil and shale, and a vein of grit stone about 10 inches thick – they throw the stuff back, and make into ground again what they do not want to quarry – this company gets 500,000 quintaux métriques (1 quintal metrique = 100 kilos) per annum that is, one-fourteenth of all the coal got per annum in the bassin houilier (coal basin) of St. Etienne and Rive de Gier, and one-sixth of all the coal got in the St. Etienne district – only 3 years qu’on a travaillé à decouvert (in open quarry) as at present – La couche du Breuil (i.e. coal) 40, 50, 60, to 80 feet thick – La benne (corve) pèse en gros morceaux 150 kilos environ – 10 to 12 bennes in cubic metre of coal – sells here for 1/30, 1/. and six sols la benne – sur 2040 bennes got last year on peut avoir gagné 60,000 francs; but this was an extraordinary gain, in consequence of regetting in old galleries, having no stuff to move etc. etc. and cannot be expected to occur again – may reckon the average price at ./75 per benne, here, at the pit’s mouth – the taxe paid to government, twofold – taxe fixe, 10/. per kiliometre carré, and taxe according to the Étendue de la concession, and which is proportioned to the benefice that is gained which varies every year – 58 kiliometres got last year paid altogether 2000/. – besides this, there is the proprietor of the land (surface) to pay, and the law gives him one-sixth of the coal got i.e. one benne out of every six; but this is too much and the company pays by agreement only one-tenth, 1 benne out of ten – of what is got already, there are 15 surface proprietors – and the company has paid one proprietor as much as 20,000 francs per annum – the members of the company are concessionnaires du gouvernment – all the mines in the kingdom belonging to government, and for which the concessionnaires pay the 2 above named taxes or charges – the land is here so divided – so many proprietors, the mines could not be so well worked, if government had not taken them into their own hands – this was done in 1814 under Louis 18 – the marquis d’Osmond had concession of all the mines in the bassin de St. Etienne made to him before the 1st revolution – he emigrated and lost it – had it restored on the return of the Bourbons, and sold it – It is Carillon /Carilian/ Gœury Quai des Augustins no. 41 à Paris who is libraire to the Ecole des mines at Paris – Monsieur Morillo, on our return from the quarry, very civilly introduced me to his mother (from about 25 lieues from Paris near Troyes) and asked me to breakfast – breakfast à la fourchette at 11 1/4 – very good breakfast riz de veau à la chicorée (very good) large cold poulet or small dindon, epinards, a sort of tart, and a gateau with almonds and green grapes and greengages, and vin du pays – talked away – afterwards went with Monsieur to his bureau for a few minutes and wrote down from his dictation almost all the above renseign[e]men[t]s – gave him my address at Shibden and in rue St. Victor à Paris, and said I should be glad to see and do him any service – told him I had coal of my own, and should perhaps return to St. Etienne to learn to measure under ground etc. – wished good morning to Madame who seemed to have thought me bien amiable, and off from the Chateau de Firminy at 12 1/4 – they had pumped me about my politics, said I was no politician but owned myself naturally a Tory – Lord Grey and Mr. Stanley retired in consequence of O’Connell’s Irish church bill, and Lord Melbourne prime minister – odd I should 1st learn this at Firminy! – home at 1 50/.. in 1 35/.. hour, 10 minutes longer than we were in going – tired of the slow going and great heat – paid all – our hostess would have profited prettily by us if she could – Off from l’hotel de l’Europe chez ‘Tainturier de Lyon’ at 2 50/.. – nice road and country – Guyonnière /Saint-Genis-les-Ollières/ merely a single house poste and hotel de Provence – at 4 33/.. pass handsome double wood-floored suspension bridge over the broad bedded Loire – had just before seen in the distance left the good looking town of St. Lambert /Saint-Rambert/ – at 4 50/.. turn (right) to Montbrison and having good road to …… dusty but not so much so as yesterday – all the women (except les grandes) ride califourchon New road opened 2 years ago from St. Etienne to Marseilles, missing Lyons, going direct to Tain – saving 3 days journey from Paris to Marseille said my cocher, 8 years in the 16th chasseurs till the revolution in 1830, servant to his colonel Monsieur de la Tour du Pin ‘le roi des hommes’ – would have ‘versé la dernière goutte de son sang pour lui’ – who saying he had juré to serve one king, and would not serve 2, tore off his epoulettes and broke his sword (at Dieppe) and left the service – the men all in tears on his bidding them farewell – at 5 1/4 we near the mountains – at 5 35/.. St. Priest, and chateau on conical mountain top – have seen 2 or 3 good chateaus since Saint Etienne this afternoon – fine open country – good road – at 6 5/.. alight at l’hotel du Nord at Montbrison – the little demoiselle of the house wanted 3 francs per bed for our own 2 – would not give more than 2/. she hence asked 3/. a head for dinner and gave us a very meagre, bad one – no potage même – dinner at 7 – sat talking – lastly riz au lait to make up for bad dinner – wrote all the above of today till 11 20/.. – Adney in bed soon after 9 p.m. – very fine day Fahrenheit 72° now at 11 20/.. p.m. –

In the margin:

went to see the pit at some distance behind the chateau where the steam engine brought up both coal and water from 40? toises deep – primitive mountains here – 60,000 inhabitants in the parish of St. Etienne –

Courtesy of West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale SH:7/ML/E/17/0073 & SH:7/ML/E/17/0074

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